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We did not fail on Choose and Book

From Neil Mckay, Chief Executive, Leeds Teaching Hospital

The item 'Biggest teaching hospital faces IT shutout' (News, 9 February) stated: 'Problems at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust mean that the four Leeds PCTs were the only ones in England not to qualify last year for the initial incentive payments for Choose and Book.'

While it is true to say four of the five Leeds PCTs failed to qualify for the payment, it was not as a result of a failing by this trust. In fact, one of the PCTs openly chose not to apply for the incentive payment.

All of our eligible specialties (more than 360) were loaded on to the Choose and Book Directory of Services (DoS) by the 30 June deadline. Each of the Leeds PCTs should have been geared up to commission their services on DoS in a planned period between 29 and 30 June. In the event only one of the five PCTs achieved this.

The fact that this Leeds PCT obtained the incentive payment demonstrates that the trust's directory was ready and available to be used for service commissioning.

When the deadline was subsequently extended to 15 July, we were prepared to try again. However technical problems with the national Choose and Book system meant this would have entailed repeating much of our 30 June work.

Given the size of this task, our stance was that we would only do this if instructed to do so by the Leeds Choose and Book Project Board, chaired by one of the PCTs. This instruction never came.

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